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Tsvangirai health disclosure

28 Jun 2016 at 13:36hrs | Views
One, in health and otherwise

I cannot be taught to hate my country for in so-doing, I invariably learn to accept to hate myself. No truer does the foregoing statement ring than right now when one of my countrymen is at the crossroads of his life. I must admit from the onset that I have never really been a believer in former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, as a politician. However, I have firmly held to the view that I would jealously guard his freedom of expression as I assume he would mine. Having said that, let me delve into the import of this article, which definitely is neither about qualifying my reservations about the opposition leader nor an obituary.

As a people, we hold varied views, ranging from sport, entertainment to politics and even love. Such diversity is what binds us together. We celebrate together and even grieve collectively as well.

So, when Tsvangirai recently came out in the open about his health, some uncouth elements might have been tempted to derive morbid pleasure but not Sambulo! What would I possibly gain from rejoicing in this mischief? In fact I would stand to lose quite significantly considering the friendly banter I periodically direct at his office and the reciprocity from the MDC-T information and publicity department. So, I feel compelled to stand shoulder-shoulder with the brother man and only wish that if only we could have seen eye-to-eye on more issues.

Forgiven for knowing not what they were doing, some had a field day when President Robert Mugabe slipped and fell at Harare International Airport some time back, culminating in a host of caricature citizen journalism videos, whereas others have queried his travels to the Far East for treatment of his eyes. Being a mortal as well, Tsvangirai has been admitted at the Trauma Centre and his return to South Africa to commence chemotherapy treatment is testimony to same. To gloat over real or perceived ill-health of His Excellency or that of the former Premier is tantamount to self-hate for one would not wish cancer, or any affliction for that matter, on anyone.

This is the reason I take great exception to attempts by some sections of the private press to spin what should otherwise have been a sombre atmosphere by Tsvangirai to open up on his health as a public figure into a political rally where seemingly innocent statements are contorted to conjecture, thereby purporting a so-called swipe at President Mugabe. "As a leader and public figure, I have taken a decision to make public my condition. It is my firm belief that the health of national leaders, including politicians, should not be a subject of national speculation and uncertainty," said Tsvangirai. Correct, he is a public figure and leader of an opposition political party. Also correct is the public knowledge that he is unwell health-wise. Equally true is the need for non-coercive disclosure as some may learn from such experiences.

Still, there are other truths apart from those being peddled by the private media. For example, President Mugabe has often opened up on his cataract treatment. He also told the nation, not in response to malicious private media speculation, about Amai Dr Grace Mugabe's appendicitis operation during the First Couple's annual vacation, out of duty to the nation. "I would like to say we are sorry, we took a long time away from home. Mai Stop it had pain on her side which was nagging her. It was found that she has appendicitis. She had a successful operation the day before yesterday and is now recuperating in hospital," said His Excellency last year.

Thokozani Khuphe who is Tsvangirai's deputy also opened up about her breast cancer and galvanised people against the gender divide to the rising risk statistics. "Cancer is a rising epidemic in Zimbabwe and it is important to invest in screening and treatment equipment for chemotherapy and radiation. What it means is that government must set aside funds during the budget for cancer and allocate a lot of money to health. It must do exactly what it did with the removal of user fees where they set aside $10 million," she said in 2013.

As such, the former PM joins a long list of public figures, "including politicians" that have come clean about their health. For once, I dare say he got it right for had he dithered, as he is wont to procrastinate, the truth might have eventually come out, and not to his liking.

So, like stratified wolves in a pack, we may fight among ourselves but when an intruder, such as an outside meddling in the pack's internal affairs, or even ill-health, surreptitiously encroaches, we close ranks and fight shoulder-shoulder to secure our territory. For that, I make no apologies for the affection I feel for my countrymen, which is the same I espouse for my motherland, hence my subscription to the credo of "My country first, right or wrong", more-so in the context of proliferation of global nationalism.  

I wish President Mugabe good health for he has been the rock on which this house of stones has been built. Morgan Tsvangirai, for all his fallibility, has provided necessary oversight, otherwise the democracy that Zimbabwe has become and which most people take for granted, would be a canard. For that, I wish him well as well and all my country folk. We belong together, in sickness and in health, because Zimbabwe is the only country we will ever have uncontested claim over.


Source - Sambulo Vuma
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